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WASHINGTON’S FAREWELL ADDRESS 1 - Alexander Hamilton, The Works of Alexander Hamilton, (Federal Edition), vol. 8 
The Works of Alexander Hamilton, ed. Henry Cabot Lodge (Federal Edition) (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1904). In 12 vols. Vol. 8.
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WASHINGTON’S FAREWELL ADDRESS1
The period for a new election of a citizen to administer the executive government of the United States being not very distant, and the time actually arrived when your thoughts must be employed in designating the person who is to be clothed with that important trust for another term, it appears to me proper, and especially as it may conduce to a more distinct expression of the public voice, that I should now apprise you of the resolution I have formed to decline being considered among the number of those out of whom a choice is to be made.
I beg you, nevertheless,1 to be assured that the resolution which I announce has not been taken without a strict regard to all the considerations attached to2 the relation which, as a dutiful citizen, I bear3 to my4 country, and that in withdrawing the tender of my service, which silence in my situation might imply, I am influenced by no diminution of zeal for its future interest, nor by any deficiency of grateful respect for its past kindness, but by a full conviction that such a step is compatible with both.
The acceptance of, and the continuance hitherto in the office to which your suffrages have twice called me, has been a uniform sacrifice of private inclination to5 the opinion of public duty coinciding with what appeared to be your wishes. I had constantly hoped that it would have been much earlier in my power, consistently with motives which I was not at liberty to disregard, to return to that retirement from which those6motives had reluctantly drawn me.
The strength of my desire to withdraw previous to the last election, had even led to the preparation of an address to declare it to you, but deliberate1 reflection on the very critical and perplexed posture of our affairs with foreign nations, and the unanimous advice of men2 every way entitled to my confidence, obliged3 me to abandon the idea.
I rejoice that the state of your national concerns, external as well as internal, no longer renders the pursuit of my inclination incompatible with the sentiment of duty or propriety, and4 that whatever partiality any portion of you may still retain for my services, they, under the existing circumstances of our country, will not disapprove the5 resolution6 I have formed.
The impressions under which I first accepted the arduous trust of Chief Magistrate of the United States, were explained on the proper occasion. In the discharge of this trust, I can only say that I have, with pure intentions, contributed towards the organization and administration of the government the best exertions of which a very fallible judgment was capable; that conscious at7 the outset of the inferiority of my qualifications for the station, experience in my own eyes, and perhaps still more in those of others, has not diminished in me the diffidence of myself—and every day the increasing weight of years admonishes me more and more that the shade of retirement is as necessary8 as it will be welcome to me. Satisfied that if any circumstances have given a peculiar value to my services, they were temporary, I have the consolation to believe that while inclination and prudence urge me to recede from the political scene, patriotism does not forbid it. May I also have that of knowing in my retreat,1 that the involuntary errors which I have probably committed have been the causes of no serious or lasting mischief to my country, and thus be spared the anguish of regrets which would disturb the repose of my retreat and embitter the remnant of my life! I may then expect to realize, without alloy, the pure enjoyment of partaking, in the midst of my fellow-citizens, of the benign influence of good laws under a free government; the ultimate object of all my wishes, and to which I look as the happy reward2 of our mutual labors and dangers.
In looking forward to the moment which is to terminate the career of my public life, my sensations do not permit me to suspend the deep acknowledgments required by that debt of gratitude, which I owe to my beloved country, for the many honors it has conferred upon me, still more for the distinguished and steadfast confidence it has reposed in me, and for the opportunities it has thus afforded me3 of manifesting my inviolable attachment, by services faithful and persevering—however the inadequateness of my faculties may have ill seconded my4 zeal. If benefits have resulted to you, my fellow-citizens, from these services, let it always be remembered to your praise, and as an instructive example in our annals, that the constancy of your support amidst appearances1 dubious, vicissitudes of fortune often discouraging, and in situations in which, not unfrequently, want of success has seconded the criticisms of malevolence,22 was the essential prop of the efforts and the guaranty of the measures by which they were achieved.
Profoundly penetrated with this idea, I shall carry it with me to my retirement, and to my grave, as a lively incitement to unceasing vows (the only returns I can henceforth make) that Heaven may continue to you the choicest tokens of its beneficence, merited by national piety and morality; that your union and brotherly affection may be perpetual; that the free Constitution, which is the work of your own hands, may be sacredly maintained; that its administration in every department may be stamped with wisdom and virtue; that, in fine, the happiness of the people of these States under the auspices of liberty may be made complete, by so careful a preservation, and so prudent a use of this blessing, as will acquire them the glorious satisfaction of recommending it to the affection, the praise, and the adoption of every nation which is yet a stranger to it.
Here, perhaps, I ought to stop; but a solicitude for your welfare, which cannot end but with my life, and the fear that there may exist projects unfriendly to it, against which it may be necessary you should be guarded, urge me in taking leave of you to offer to your solemn consideration and frequent review, some sentiments, the result of mature reflection confirmed by observation and experience, which appear to me essential to the permanency of your felicity as a people. These will be offered with the more freedom, as you can only see in them the disinterested advice of a parting friend, who can have no personal motive to tincture or bias his counsel.
Interwoven as is the love of liberty with every fibre of your hearts, no recommendation is necessary to fortify your attachment to it. Next to this, that unity of government which constitutes you as one people, claims your vigilant care and guardianship—as a main pillar of your real independence, of your peace, safety, freedom, and happiness.
This being the point in your political fortress against which the batteries of internal and external enemies will be most constantly and actively, however covertly and insidiously levelled, it is of the utmost importance that you should appreciate, in its full force, the immense value of your political union to your national and individual happiness—that you should cherish towards it an affectionate and immovable attachment, and that you should watch for its preservation with zealous solicitude.
For this, you have every motive of sympathy and interest. Children for the most part of a common country, that country claims and ought to concentrate your affections. The name of American must always gratify and exalt the just pride of patriotism more than any denomination which can be derived from local discriminations. You have, with slight shades of difference, the same religion, manners, habits, and political institutions and principles; you have, in a common cause, fought and triumphed together. The independence and liberty you enjoy are the work of joint councils, efforts, dangers, sufferings, and successes. By your union you have achieved them, by your union you will most effectually maintain them.
The considerations which address themselves to your sensibility are greatly1 strengthened2 by those which apply to your interest. Here, every portion of our country will find the most urgent and commanding motives for guarding and preserving the union of the whole.
The North, in3 intercourse with the South, under the equal laws of one government, will, in the productions of the latter, many of them peculiar, find vast additional resources of maritime and commercial enterprise.4 The South, in the same intercourse, will share in the benefits of the agency of the North, will find its agriculture promoted and its commerce extended by turning into its own channels those means of navigation which the North more abundantly affords; and while it contributes to extend the national navigation, will participate in the protection of a maritime strength to which itself is unequally adapted. The East, in a like intercourse with the West, finds5 a valuable vent for the commodities which it brings from abroad or manufactures at home. The West derives through this channel an essential supply of its wants; and what is far more important to it, it must owe the secure and permanent enjoyment of the indispensable outlets for its own productions to the weight, influence, and maritime resources of the Atlantic States.1 The tenure by which it could hold this advantage, either from its own separate strength, or by an apostate and unnatural connection with any foreign nation, must be intrinsically and necessarily precarious, at every moment liable to be disturbed by the2 combinations of those primary3 interests which constantly regulate the conduct of every portion of Europe—and where every part finds a particular interest in the Union. All the parts of our country will find in their Union4 strength, proportional security from external danger, less frequent interruption of their peace with foreign nations; and what is far more valuable, an exemption from those broils and wars between the parts if disunited, which, then, our rivalships, fomented by foreign intrigue or the opposite alliances with foreign nations engendered by their mutual jealousies, would inevitably produce.5
These considerations speak a conclusive language to every virtuous and considerate mind. They place the continuance of our union among the first objects of patriotic desire. Is there a doubt whether a common government can long embrace so extensive a sphere? Let time and experience decide the question. Speculation in such a case ought not to be listened to. And ’t is rational to hope that the auxiliary1 governments of the subdivisions, with a proper organization of the whole, will secure a favorable issue to the experiment. ’T is allowable to believe that the spirit of party, the intrigues of foreign nations, the corruption and the ambition of individuals, are likely to prove more formidable adversaries to the unity of our empire, than any inherent difficulties in the scheme. ’T is against these that the guards2 of national opinion, national sympathy, national prudence and virtue, are to be erected. With such obvious motives to union, there will be always cause from the fact itself to distrust the patriotism of those who3 may endeavor to weaken its bands. And by all the love I bear you, my fellowcitizens, I conjure4 you, as often as5 it appears, to frown upon the attempt.
Besides the more serious causes which have been hinted at as endangering our Union, there is another less dangerous, but against which it is necessary to be on our guard; I mean the petulance of party6 differences of opinion. It is not uncommon to hear the irritations which these excite, vent themselves in declarations that the different parts of the Union are ill assorted and cannot remain together—in menaces from the inhabitants of one part to those of another, that it will be dissolved by this or that measure. Intimations of the kind are as indiscreet as they are intemperate. Though frequently made with levity and without being in earnest, they have a tendency to produce the consequence which they indicate. They teach the minds of men to consider the Union as precarious, as an object to which they are not to attach their hopes and fortunes, and thus weaken the sentiment in its favor. By rousing the resentment and alarming the pride of those to whom they are addressed, they set ingenuity to work to deprecate the value of the object, and to discover motives of indifference to it. This is not wise. Prudence demands that we should habituate ourselves in all our words and actions to reverence the Union as a sacred and inviolable palladium of our happiness, and should discountenance whatever can lead to a suspicion that it can in any event be abandoned.
’T is matter of serious concern that parties in this country for some time past have been too much characterized by geographical discriminations—northern and southern States, Atlantic and western country. These discriminations,1 which are the mere artifice of the spirit of party (always dexterous to avail itself of every source of sympathy,2 of every handle by which the passions can be taken hold of, and which has been careful to turn to account the circumstance of territorial vicinity3 ), have furnished an argument against the Union as evidence of a real difference of local interests and views, and serve to hazard it by organizing large districts of country under the direction of1 different factions whose passions and prejudices, rather than the true interests of the country, will be too apt to regulate the use of their influence. If it be possible to correct this poison in the affairs of our country, it is worthy the best endeavors of moderate and virtuous men to effect it.
One of the expedients which the partisans of faction employ towards strengthening their influence by local discriminations,2 is to misrepresent the opinions and views of rival districts. The people at large cannot be too much on their guard against the jealousies which grow out of these misrepresentations. They tend to render aliens to each other those who ought to be tied together by fraternal affection. The people of the western country have lately had a useful lesson on this subject. They have seen in the negotiation by the Executive, and in the unanimous ratification of the treaty with Spain by the Senate, and in the universal satisfaction at that event in all parts of the country, a decisive proof how unfounded have been the suspicions instilled3 in them of a policy in the Atlantic States, and in the different departments of the general government, hostile to their interests in relation to the Mississippi. They have seen two treaties formed which secure to them every thing that they could desire to confirm their prosperity. Will they not henceforth rely for the preservation of these advantages on that Union by which they were procured? Will they not reject those counsellors who would render them alien to their brethren and connect them with aliens?
To the duration and efficacy of your Union, a government extending over the whole is indispensable. No alliances however strict between the parts could be an adequate substitute. These could not fail to be liable to the infractions and interruptions which all alliances in all times have suffered. Sensible of this important truth, you have lately established a Constitution of general government, better calculated than the former for an intimate union, and more adequate to the duration of your common concerns. This government, the offspring of your own choice, uninfluenced and unawed, completely free in its principles, in the distribution of its powers, uniting energy with safety, and containing in itself a provision for its own amendment, is well entitled to your confidence and support. Respect for its authority, compliance with its laws, acquiescence in its measures,1 are duties dictated by the fundamental maxims of true liberty. The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their constitutions of government. But the Constitution for the time, and until changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole people, is sacredly binding upon all. The very idea of the right and power of the people to establish government presupposes the duty of every individual to obey the established government.
All obstructions to the execution of the laws—all combinations and associations under whatever plausible character, with the real design to counteract,1 control,2 or awe the regular3 action of the constituted authorities, are contrary to this fundamental principle, and of the most fatal tendency. They serve to organize faction,4 and to put in the stead of the delegated will of the whole nation the will of a party, often a small5 minority of the whole community; and according to the alternate triumph of different parties to make the public administration reflect the6 schemes and projects of faction rather than the wholesome plans of common councils and deliberations. However combinations or associations of this description may occasionally promote popular ends and purposes, they are likely to produce, in the course of time and things, the most effectual engines by which artful, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and usurp the reins of government.
Towards the preservation of your government and the permanency of your present happy state, it is not only requisite that you steadily discountenance irregular oppositions to its authority, but that you should be upon your guard against the spirit of innovation upon its principles, however specious the pretexts. One method of assault may be to effect alterations in the forms of the Constitution tending to impair the energy of the system, and so to undermine what cannot be directly overthrown. In all the changes to which you may be invited, remember that time and habit are as necessary to fix the true character of governments as of any other human institutions; that experience is the surest standard by which the real tendency of existing constitutions of government can be tried; that changes upon1 the credit of mere hypothesis and opinion expose you to perpetual change from the successive and endless variety of hypothesis and opinion. And remember also,2 that for the efficacious management of your common interests, in a country so extensive as ours, a government of as much force and strength as is consistent with the perfect security of liberty is indispensable. Liberty itself will find in such a government, with powers properly distributed and arranged, its surest guardian and protector. In my opinion, the real danger in our system is, that the general government, organized as at present, will prove too weak rather than too powerful.
I have already observed the danger to be apprehended from founding our parties on geographical discriminations. Let me now enlarge the view of this point, and caution you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of party spirit in general. This spirit unfortunately is inseparable from human nature, and has its root in the strongest passions of the human heart. It exists under different shapes in all governments, but3 in those of the popular form it is always seen in its utmost vigor and rankness, and is their worst enemy. In republics of narrow extent, it is not difficult for those who at any time possess the reins of administration, or even for partial combinations of men, who from birth, riches, and other sources of distinction have an extraordinary influence, by possessing or acquiring the direction of the military force, or by sudden efforts of partisans and followers, to overturn the established order of things, and effect a usurpation. But in republics of large extent, the one or the other is scarcely possible. The powers and opportunities of resistance of a numerous and wide-extended nation defy the successful efforts of the ordinary military force, or of any collections1 which wealth and patronage may call to their aid, especially if there be no city of overbearing force, resources, and influence. In such republics it is perhaps safe to assert that the conflicts of popular faction offer the only avenues to tyranny and usurpation. The domination of one faction over another, stimulated by that spirit of revenge which is apt to be gradually engendered, and which in different ages and countries has produced the greatest enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result predispose the minds of men to seek repose and security in the absolute power of a single man. And the2 leader of a prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of an ambitious and criminal self-aggrandizement.
Without looking forward to such an extremity (which, however, ought not to be out of sight), the ordinary and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party make it the interest and the duty of a wise people, to discountenance and repress it.
It serves always to distract the councils and enfeeble the administration of the government. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms.1 It opens inlets for foreign corruption and influence, which find an easy access through the channels of party passions, and causes the true policy and interest of our own country to be made subservient to the policy and interest of one and another foreign nation, sometimes enslaving our own government to the will of a foreign government.
There is an opinion that parties in free countries are salutary checks upon the administration of the government, and serve to invigorate the spirit of liberty. This, within certain limits, is true; and in governments of a monarchical character or bias, patriotism may look with some favor on the spirit of party. But in those of the popular kind, in those purely elective, it is a spirit not to be fostered or encouraged. From the natural tendency of such governments, it is certain there will always be enough of it for every salutary purpose, and there being constant danger of excess, the effort ought to be, by the force of public opinion, to mitigate and correct it. ’T is a fire which2 cannot be quenched, but demands3 a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame—lest it should not only warm but consume.
It is important, likewise, that the habits of thinking of the people should tend to produce caution in their public agents in the several departments of government, to retain each within its proper sphere, and not to permit one to encroach upon another; that every attempt of the kind, from whatever quarter, should meet with the discountenance1 of the community, and that, in every case in which a precedent of encroachment shall have been given, a corrective be sought in [revocation be effected by] a careful attention to the next choice2 of public agents. The spirit of encroachment tends to absorb3 the powers of the several branches and departments into one, and thus to establish, under whatever form, a despotism. A just knowledge of the human heart, of that love of power which predominates in it, is alone sufficient to establish this truth. Experiments, ancient and modern, some in our own country, and under our own eyes, serve to confirm it. If, in the public opinion, the distribution of the constitutional powers be in any instance wrong, or inexpedient, let it be corrected by the authority of the people in a legitimate constitutional course. Let there be no change by usurpation, for though this may be the instrument of good in one instance, it is the ordinary4 instrument of the destruction5 of free government — and the influence of the precedent is always infinitely more pernicious than any thing which it may achieve can be beneficial.
In all those dispositions which promote political happiness,1 religion and morality are essential props. In vain does he2 claim the praise of patriotism, who labors to subvert or undermine these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest foundations of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public happiness.
Let it simply be asked, where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of moral and religious obligation deserts the oaths which are administered3 in courts of justice? Nor ought we to flatter ourselves that morality can be separated from religion. Concede as much as may be asked to the effect of refined education in minds of peculiar structure, can we believe, can we in prudence suppose, that national morality can be maintained in exclusion of religious principles? Does it not require the aid of a generally received and divinely authoritative religion?
’T is essentially true that virtue or morality is a main and necessary spring of popular or republican governments. The rule, indeed, extends with more or less force to all free governments. Who that is a prudent and sincere friend to them, can look with indifference on the ravages which are making in the foundation of the fabric—religion? The uncommon means which of late have been directed to this fatal end, seem to make it in a particular manner the duty of a retiring chief of a nation to warn his country against tasting of the poisonous draught.
Cultivate, also, industry and frugality. They are auxiliaries of good morals, and great sources of private and national prosperity. Is there not room for regret, that our propensity to expense exceeds the maturity of our country for expense? Is there not more luxury among us, in various classes, than suits the actual period of our national progress? Whatever may be the apology for luxury in a country mature in all the arts which are its ministers and the means of national opulence—can it promote the advantage of a young agricultural country, little advanced in manufactures, and not much advanced in wealth?1
Cherish public credit as a means of strength and security. As one method of preserving it, use it as little as possible. Avoid occasions of expense by cultivating peace—remembering always that the preparation against danger, by timely and provident disbursements, is often a mean of avoiding greater disbursements to repel it. Avoid the accumulation of debt by avoiding occasions of expense, and by vigorous exertions in time of peace to discharge the debts which unavoidable wars may have occasioned, not transferring to posterity the burthen which we ought to bear ourselves. Recollect, that towards the payment of debts there must be revenue, that to have revenue there must be taxes, that it is impossible to devise taxes which are not more or less inconvenient and unpleasant—that they are always a choice of difficulties, that the intrinsic embarrassment which never fails to attend a selection of objects ought to be a motive for a candid construction of the conduct of the government in making it, and that a spirit of acquiescence in those measures for obtaining revenue which the public exigencies dictate, is, in an especial manner, the duty and interest of the citizens of every state.
Cherish good faith and justice towards, and peace and harmony with, all nations. Religion and morality enjoin this conduct, and it cannot be but that true policy equally demands it. It will be worthy of a free, enlightened, and at no distant period, a great nation, to give to mankind the magnanimous and too novel example of a people invariably governed by1 those exalted views. Who can doubt that in a long course of time and events the fruits of such a conduct would richly repay any temporary advantages which might be lost by a steady adherence to the plan? Can it be that Providence has not connected the permanent felicity of a nation with its virtue? The experiment is recommended by every sentiment which ennobles human nature. Alas! is it rendered impossible by its vices?
Towards the execution of such a plan,2 nothing is more essential than that 3 antipathies against particular nations and passionate attachments for others should be avoided, and that instead of them we should cultivate just and amicable feelings towards all. ∗ ∗ ∗ That nation which indulges towards another an habitual hatred or an habitual fondness, is in some degree a slave. ∗ ∗ ∗ It is a slave to its animosity, or to its affection—either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and interest. Antipathy against one nation, which never fails to beget a similar sentiment in the other, disposes each more readily to offer injury and insult to the other, to lay hold of slight causes of umbrage, and to be haughty and untractable when accidental or trifling differences arise. Hence frequent quarrels1 and bitter and obstinate contests. The nation urged by resentment and rage, sometimes compels the government to war, contrary to its own calculations of policy. The government sometimes participates in this propensity, and does through passion what reason would forbid at other times; it makes the animosity of the nations subservient to hostile projects which originate in ambition and other sinister motives. The peace, often, and sometimes the liberty of nations, has been the victim of this cause.
In like manner2 a passionate attachment of one nation to another produces multiplied ills. Sympathy for the favorite nation, promoting 3 the illusion of a supposed common interest, in cases where it does not exist,4 the enmities of the one betray the other into a participation in its quarrels and wars, without adequate inducements or justifications. It leads to the concession of privileges to one nation, and to the denial of them to others, which is apt doubly to injure the nation making the concession by an unnecessary yielding of what ought to have been retained, and by exciting jealousy, ill-will, and retaliation in the party from whom an equal privilege is withheld. And it gives to ambitious, corrupted 1 citizens, who devote themselves to the views of the favorite foreign power, facility in betraying or sacrificing the interests of their own country, even with popularity,2 gilding with 2
As avenues to foreign influence in innumerable ways, such attachments are peculiarly alarming to the enlightened independent patriot. How many opportunities do they afford to intrigue with domestic factions, to practise with success the arts of seduction, to mislead 4 the public opinion—to influence or awe the public councils? Such an attachment of a small or weak towards a great and powerful nation, destines the former to revolve round the latter as its satellite.
Against the mischiefs of foreign influence all the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly 5 exerted6 ; but the jealousy of it to be useful must be impartial, else it becomes an instrument of the very influence to be avoided, instead of a defence1 against it.
Excessive partiality for one foreign nation, and excessive dislike of another, leads to see danger only on one side, and serves to veil 2 the arts of influence on the other. Real patriots, who resist the intrigues of the favorite, become suspected and odious. Its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people to betray their interests.
The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations ought to be to have as little political connection with them as possible. So far as we have already formed engagements, let them be fulfilled with circumspection, indeed, but with perfect good faith; here let it stop.
Europe has a set of primary interests, which have none or a very remote relation to us. Hence she must be involved in frequent contests, the causes of which will be essentially foreign to us. Hence therefore, it must necessarily be unwise on our part to implicate ourselves by an artificial connection in the ordinary vicissitudes of European politics—in the combination and collisions of her friendships or enmities.
Our detached and distant situation invites us to a different course, and enables us to pursue it. If we remain a united people, under an efficient government, the period is not distant when we may defy material injury from external annoyance—when we may take such an attitude as will cause the neutrality we shall at any time resolve to observe, to be violated with caution—when it will be the interest of belligerent nations, under the impossibility of making acquisitions upon us, to be very careful how either forced us to throw our weight into the opposite scale — when we may choose peace or war, as our interest, guided by justice, shall dictate.
Why should we forego the advantages of so felicitous a situation? Why quit our own ground to stand upon foreign ground? Why, by interweaving our destiny with any part of Europe, should we entangle our prosperity and peace in the nets of European ambition, rivalship, interest, or caprice?
Permanent alliance, intimate connection with any part of the foreign world is to be avoided; so far, I mean, as we are now at liberty to do it; for let me never be understood as patronizing infidelity to preexisting engagements. These must be observed in their true and genuine sense.1
Harmony, liberal intercourse, and commerce with all nations are recommended by justice, humanity, and interest. But even our commercial policy should hold an equal hand, neither seeking nor granting exclusive favors or preferences—consulting the natural course of things—diffusing and diversifying by gentle means the streams of commerce, but forcing nothing—establishing with powers so disposed 1 temporary 2 rules of intercourse, the best that present circumstances and mutual opinion of interest will permit, but temporary, and liable to be abandoned or varied, as time, experience, and future circumstances may dictate—remembering 3 that it is folly in one nation to expect disinterested favor in another, that to accept 4 is to part with a portion of its independence, and that it may find itself in the condition of having given equivalents for nominal favors, and of being reproached with ingratitude in the bargain. There can be no greater error in national policy than to desire, expect, or calculate upon real favors. ’T is an illusion that experience must cure, that a just pride ought to discard.
In offering to you, my countrymen, these counsels of an old and affectionate friend—counsels suggested by laborious reflection, and matured by a various experience, I dare not hope that they will make the strong and lasting impressions I wish—that they will control the current of the passions, or prevent our nation from running the course which has hitherto marked the destiny of all nations.
But 5 if they may even produce partial benefit, some occasional good ∗ ∗ ∗ that they sometimes recur to moderate the violence of party spirit, to warn against the evils of foreign intrigue, to guard against the impositions of pretended patriotism, the having offered them must always afford me a precious consolation.
How far in the execution of my present office I have been guided by the principles which have been recommended,1 the public records and the external evidences of my conduct must witness. My conscience assures me that I have at least believed myself to be guided by them.
In reference to the present war of Europe, my proclamation of the 22d April, 1793, is the key to my plan, sanctioned by your approving voice, and that of your Representatives in Congress—the spirit of that measure has continually governed me—un-influenced and unawed by the attempts of any of the warring powers, their agents, or partisans, to deter or divert from it.
After deliberate consideration, and the best lights I could obtain (and from men who did not agree in their views of the origin, progress, and nature of that war), I was satisfied that our country, under all the circumstances of the case, had a right and was bound in propriety and interest to take a neutral position. And having taken it, I determined as 2 should depend on me to maintain it steadily and firmly.3
Though in reviewing the incidents of my administration I am unconscious of intentional error, I am yet too sensible of my own deficiencies, not to think it possible 4 that I have committed many errors; I deprecate the evils to which they may tend, and fervently implore the Almighty to avert or mitigate them. I shall carry with me, nevertheless, the hope that my motives will continue to be viewed by my country with indulgence, and that after forty-five years of my life, devoted with an upright zeal to the public service, the faults of inadequate abilities will be consigned to oblivion, as myself must soon be to the mansions of rest.
Neither ambition nor interest has been the impelling cause of my actions. I never designedly misused any power confided in me. The fortune with which I came into office, is not bettered otherwise than by that improvement in the value of property which the natural progress and peculiar prosperity of our country have produced. I retire 1 with a pure heart, 2 with undefiled hands, and with ardent vows for the happiness of a country, the native soil of myself and progenitors for four generations.
The question of the authorship of the Farewell Address has been discussed with the utmost ability by Horace Binney in his Inquiry into the Formation of Washington’s Farewell Address. That masterly argument, in every way worthy of its distinguished author, finally settled all doubts or questionings on the subject, and to it every one interested in the matter must be referred. It is only needful here to give a bare outline of the facts in the case.
This is a copy of the original draft in Hamilton’s autograph. The notes embrace the final alterations in this draft—but there are many previous erasures which can only be given in a fac-simile.
at the same time.
connected with—inseparable from—incident to.
combined with a deference for.
I have thence enjoyed.
have rendered their efforts unequal to my—disproportional.
under circumstances in which the passions, agitated in every direction, were liable to the greatest fluctuations.
free and unfettered.
and precious materials of their manufacturing industry.
and in the progressive improvement of internal navigation will more and more find.
directed by an indissoluble community of interests.
greater independence from the superior abundance and variety of production incident to the diversity of soil and climate. All the parts of it must find in the aggregate assemblage and reaction of their mutual population—production.
consequent exemption from the necessity of those military establishments upon a large scale which bear in every country so menacing an aspect towards liberty.
in any quarter.
“often”—instead of “far.”
collisions and disgusts.
the leaders of.
within local spheres.
ordinary management of affairs to be left to represent.
to give it an artificial force.
but artful and enterprising.
in different degrees stifled, controlled, or repressed.
embittering one part of the community against another, and producing occasionally riot and insurrection.
instruments of investigation.
in the infancy of the arts, and certainly not in the manhood of wealth.
exalted justice and benevolence.
it is very material.
that while we entertain proper impressions of particular cases—of friendly or unfriendly conduct of different foreign nations to wards us, we nevertheless avoid fixed and rooted antipathies against any, or passionate attachments for any, instead of these cultivating, as a general rule, just and amicable feelings towards all.
and communicating to one.
the appearance of a virtuous impulse, the base yieldings of ambition or corruption.
“mislead” for “misdirect.”
all history and experience in different ages and nations have proved that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government.
But ’t is not necessary, nor will it be prudent, to extend them. ’T is our true policy, as a general principle, to avoid permanent or close alliances. Taking care always to keep ourselves by suitable establishments in a respectably defensive position, we may safely trust to occasional alliances for extraordinary emergencies.
In order to give to trade a stable course, to define the rights of our merchants, and enable the government to support them.
any thing under that character.
I may flatter myself.
“inculcated” for “recommended.”
as far as.
Here a large space is found in the draft evidently for the insertion of other matter.
“probable” for “possible.”
without cause for a blush.
with no alien sentiment to the ardor of those vows for the happiness of his country, which is so natural to a citizen who sees in it.